Leadership team takes a deep look inward and rebuilds - starting with the president.
John Harper was brought in to The Meat Factory to conduct psychometric evaluations on the senior executives with the aim to build tighter teams and improve performance.
They expected an in-depth analysis of behavioural issues and performance barriers, and recommendations to help leaders unlock their potential to advance the company. What they didn’t expect was that this analysis clearly indicated that some of the leaders did not have the behavioural skill set for their demanding positions and therefore would probably be struggling in their current roles.
A bold statement indeed - but Dan Davies, who now occupies the position at the helm, says it made good business sense to start on the top rung and cascade down. “Once we identified top talent, we could start from scratch to build dynamic teams with the right people.”
An integral part of the executive team
Initially contracted to help The Meat Factory build its leadership team, John soon became an integral member of the executive team. “I rely on John for input into our people strategy. Without his counsel, the path forward is far less clear,” says Dan.
“John conducts assessments on team members, and helps us understand the results,” says Dan. “He identifies stressors and how deep they go, which is extremely important in getting to the core of behaviour. For example, once we know that ‘Billy’ hates change, we can understand why when put in certain situations, he panics, loses track and does things we find out of character.”
“In addition, John looks at the team as a whole, and identifies who has complementing traits, who can work well together, and what underlying issues will cost us in productivity and performance.”
Putting an end to the expensive hiring cycle
The Meat Factory spent years caught in the cycle of hiring-firing-hiring-leave. Hiring wrong is not only counter-productive, confusing to customers, and damaging to a company’s reputation - it is expensive. Dan estimates that every bad hire costs the company at least 50k.
“We were continually picking people with a bias towards experience and skill, but who inevitably failed because they weren’t the complete fit for the job,” says Dan. “Anyone can talk their way around core competencies, but that doesn’t expose their true human behaviour. ”
Using highly validated, world-class assessments, John shows them what’s behind the veneer. Dan refers to John as his “spirit guide.” “Psychometric evaluations are half science and half human experience. There is so much to consider when evaluating a person’s results. John helps us understand the intricacies of human behaviour.”
Building executive teams with high EQ
Dan believes that the number one leadership quality is the ability to understand emotional intelligence - to be able to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.
John uses a suite of assessments to help executives understand their behaviours, their derailers and the impact that they have on others. Dan admits that after 25 years of various assessments, “nothing has stuck like it has with John. You need a professional to guide you through the process of assessment and even more importantly, individual growth.”
It’s not uncommon for executives to have A-type personalities with traits like impatience, competitiveness, work-obsessed and aggressive. But those core behaviours - if used incorrectly, can break a team down and inhibit progress.
“I call them trolley tracks - they take me off my game. If someone throws me something during a stress period, I may react poorly,” admits Dan. “As a business person, I can’t afford that. John helps me see what’s really important, and why I’m acting the way I am. He brings me back to some version of normal so we can operate.”
For Dan Davies, President and CEO of The Meat Factory, the addition of John Harper to the team has clearly driven value to the top line and grown the bottom line by ensuring the right additions to the team while strengthening the effectiveness of the current team. Now the path is clear. “We expect to keep moving forward, developing teams and executives that want to come along for the ride.”
Satisfying the meat cravings of Canadians for over 40 years
The Meat Factory is a producer of delicious, soul-satisfying ready-to-eat meat dishes for Canadian families, as well as an extensive line of smoked and barbecued meat products for the retail and foodservice market in Canada. The Meat Factory is also part of the Premium Brands Group which includes 57 operating companies across the United States.
The cornerstone company, Lou’s BBQ, was started in 1979 by Lou Albanese, Chairman and CEO of The Meat Factory. The company now employs 160 people in the 90,000 sq. ft. facility to accommodate the business’s successful growth.